2010 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition
The Merchant Vessels: City of Atlanta
From some of the research I’ve managed to find out about its captain Leman Chapman Urquhart, born in Canada on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick in the village of Castalia, it can be seen that he was not the regular captain of the ship. It had many previous captains, for a short time, according to the record read. The ship itself was laid down in 1903 in West Chester, Pennsylvania and I recall converted, perhaps during its construction, from coal to oil. He was my maternal grandfather’s brother, Lawrence George Urquhart’s older brother and other siblings grew up on the island, though in my grandfather’s time Lawrence enlisted in the Canadian Army fighting in Europe when he was, we hope, 16 (not 15). Leman C. Urquhart was a “Master Mariner” according to his business card and employed as a harbor pilot in the Savannah, Georgia harbor. They had both worked for “Savannah Lines” I think I recall him saying. My grandfather was later a crash-boat operator for flights out of New York near the current LaGuardia Airport. The City of Atlanta berthed in New York City and Savannah, Georgia making regular trips between the two cities. The NY Harbor-Sandy Hook Pilot’s Association thought, war declared, ships tied up in various rules and applications and perhaps having a harbor pilot as the captain, City of Atlanta may have an easier egress from the port of New York. Later correspondence about its wreckage stated since it was sunk purposefully to be a hazard to shipping, it may have been cleared by wire to some degree and is still cited as a hazard. The whole area off the North Carolina coast is a danger to magnetic compass bearings, warning on the navigation charts that anomalous magnetic readings are likely to be encountered.
At the base of a flagpole I recall is printed his name and other islanders who died for our freedom. We were then visiting the house my grandfather had bought in North Head, Grand Manan Island, N.B. As youngsters too young to travel much there, he later sold it to two school teachers on the island. The flagpole is just out-front of the church between two brass cannons, marked “Eccles”.
There is also a volume about the The Second Happy Time (Wikipedia) codenamed Operation Paukenschlag or: Operation Drumbeat, billed as “The Dramatic True Story of Germany’s First U-boat Attacks Along The American Coast In World War II,” by author: Michael Gannon, publisher: Harper Perennial in 1991 (review by Daryl Carpenter). Brought to their attention, perhaps “Lehman Urquart” that is the Leman Chapman Urquhart name will be corrected in the second edition.